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graceful appearance, dexterous at all martial exercises, bold, open, generous, he seemed to be formed for command; and as his father, conscious of his own inferiority, from the total want of education, had been extremely attentive to have him instructed in every science becoming a gentleman; the accomplishments which he had acquired heightened the respect of his followers, as they gave him distinction and eminence among illiterate adventurers. In this young man the Almagrians found a point of union which they wanted, and looking up to him as their head, were ready to undertake any thing for his advancement. Many of them, destitute of common necessaries, and weary of loitering away life, a burden to their chief, or to such of their associates as had saved some remnant of their fortune from pillage and confiscation, longed impatiently for an occasion to exert their activity and courage, and began to deliberate how they might be avenged on the author of all their misery. Their frequent cabals did not pass unobserved; and the governor was warned to be on his guard against men who meditated some desperate deed, and had resolution to execute it. But either from the native intrepidity of his mind, or from contempt of persons whose poverty seemed to render their machinations of little consequence, he disregarded the admonitions of his friends. ‘Be in no pain,' said he carelessly, ‘about my life; it is perfectly safe, as long as every man in Peru knows that I can in a moment cut off any head which dares to harbour a thought against it.’ This security gave the Almagrians full leisure to digest and ripen every part of their scheme; and Juan de Herrada, an officer of great abilities, who had the charge of Almagro's education, took the direction of their consultations, with all the zeal which this connection inspired, and with all the authority which the ascendant that he was known to have over the mind of his pupil gave him. On Sunday, June 26th, 1541, at mid-day, the season of tranquillity and repose in all sultry climates, Herrada, at the head of 18 of the most determined conspirators, sallied out of Almagro's house in complete armour; and drawing their swords as they advanced hastily towards the governor's palace,
cried out, “Long live the king, but let the tyrant die!" Their associates, warned of their motions by a signal, were in arms at different stations ready to support them. Though Pizarro was usually surrounded by such a numerous train of attendants as suited the magnificence of the most opulent subject of the age in which he lived, yet as he was just risen from table, and most of his domestics had retired to their own apartments, the conspirators passed through the two outer courts of the palace unobserved. They were at the bottom of a stair-case, before a page in waiting could give the alarm to his master, who was conversing with a few friends in a large hall. The governor, whose steady mind no form of danger could appal, starting up, called for arms, and commanded Francisco de Chaves to make fast the door. But that officer, who did not retain so much presence of mind as to obey this prudent order, running to the top of the stair-case, wildly asked the conspirators what they meant, and whither they were going? Instead of answering, they stabbed him to the heart, and burst into the hall. Some of the persons who were there threw themselves from the windows; others attempted to fly; and a few drawing their swords, followed their leader into an inner apartment. The conspirators animated with having the object of their vengeance now in view, rushed forward after them. Pizarro, with no other arms than his sword and buckler, defended the entry, and supported by his half brother Alcantara, and his little knot of friends, he maintained the unequal contest with intrepidity worthy of his past exploits, and with the vigour of a youthful combatant, “Courage cried he, “companions, we are yet enow to make those traitors repent of their audacity " But the armour of the conspirators protected them, while every thrust they made took effect. Alcantara fell dead at his brother's feet; his other defenders were mortally wounded. The governor, so weary that he could hardly wield his sword, and no longer able to parry the many weapons furiously aimed at him, received a deadly thrust full in his throat, sunk to the ground, and expired. As soon as he was slain, the assassins ran out into the streets,
and waving their bloody swords, proclaimed the death of the tyrant. Above 200 of their associates having joined them, they conducted young Almagro in solemn procession through the city, and assembling the magistrates and principal citizens, compelled them to acknowledge him as lawful successor to his father in his government. The palace of Pizarro, together with the houses of several of his adherents, were pillaged by the soldiers, who had the satisfaction at once of being avenged on their enemies, and of enriching themselves by the spoil of those through whose hands all the wealth of Peru had passed. The partizans of old Almagro now declared his son of the same name viceroy; but the greater part of the nation, though not averse to the conspiracy which took off Pizarro, refused to concur in this determination. They waited the orders of the emperor Charles V. then king of Spain, who sent over Vaca di Castro, a man of the strictest probity to be their governor. By him the young Almagro was defeated; and being tried and condemned, lost his life, together with the chief supporters of his cause. De Castro, by his wisdom and integrity, was admirably qualified to heal the wounds of the colony; and to place every thing on the most advantageous footing, both for it and for the mother country. By his prudent conduct, the mines of La Plata and Potosi, which had hitherto supplied the private plunderer, were converted into objects of public utility, to the court of Spain. The parties, which had agitated the province from the very beginning, were either crushed or silenced; and tranquillity was again restored to Peru. It appears, however, that de Castro, trusting, perhaps, too much to a conscious integrity, had neglected the usual precautions of guilt, in securing the favour of the ministry by bribes or promises. By their advice, a council was sent out to controul Castro; and the colony was again unsettled. The parties just composed, began to rage anew; and Gonzalo, the brother of the famous Pizarro, set himself at the head of his brother's partizans, with whom many new malecontents had joined interests. It was no longer a private dispute between governors, about the bounds of their jurisdiction. Gonzalo Pizarro paid no more than a nominal submission to the king. He daily accumulated strength and resources; and even went
so far, as to decapitate a governor who had been sent to curb him. He attached to his interest the admiral of the Spanish fleet in the South Seas; by whose means he proposed to prevent the landing of troops from Spain; and in the plenitude of his presumption, meditated to unite the inhabitants of Mexico in his revolt.
In this wretched situation stood affairs, when the Spanish court, sensible of its mistake in sending men into America from the influence of minions and the solicitation of cabals, without any regard to character and virtue, dispatched with unlimited authority Peter de la Gasga, a man of equal integrity with Castro, but superior in the arts of address. These, however, were not used to cloak vice or mask hypocrisy: a natural love of justice, a greatness of soul, and a disinterested spirit, were inherent qualities in both; but Gasga set off these amiable qualities to advantage by the soft polish of conciliating Imanners.
All those who had not joined in Pizarro's revolt, began to flock under his standard; and many of Pizarro's partizans, charmed with the behaviour of Gasga, forsook their old connections. The admiral was gained over by insinuation to return to his duty and allegiance; and Pizarro himself was offered a full indemnity on the same terms. But so intoxicating are the ideas of royalty, that Pizarro chose rather to hazard irretrievable ruin than submit to any officer of Spain. With those of his partizans, who still remained faithful to his cause, he determined to risk a battle. He was vanquished and taken prisoner; and his execution speedily followed. Thus the brother of him who had added Peru to the dominions of Spain, fell a necessary sacrifice for the security of the acquisition.
Vol. I. S
WIEW OF AMERICA
HE successful discoveries, and valuable acquisitions of the Spaniards on the rich continent of South America, soon excited the attention of other European nations to pursue similar measures by similar means; but the detail of their dif. ferent expeditions, and of the revolutions that have taken place, neither falls within our plan, nor would it be generally interesting. It is sufficiently known, that flourishing colonies and independent states now exist, which were planted along that very extensive coast, reaching from the mouth of the river St. Lawrence in North America, to Rio de la Plata in the South, some of which spread far within land; besides the islands in the gulph of Mexico and elsewhere. A description of these falls within the province of the geographer alone; but before we proceed in our intended course, it may not be amiss to throw together the general observations of various writers on the original inhabitants of this vast continent; to preserve the traces of character which time may obliterate, or an intercourse with Europeans efface. Such a disquisition will be no less gratifying to him who reads for pleasure, than to him who reads for profit. It will assist the speculations of the philosopher, and amuse the leisure of the busy. When we contemplate the New World, the first circumstance that strikes us is its immense extent. It was not a small portion of the earth, so inconsiderable, that it might